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Glass Hazards for Sanitation Workers

September 28,2010 | Vito A. Turso/Matthew LiPani

Press Release # 10-22, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Don't place broken glass in refuse and recycling containers

Everyday thousands of Sanitation Workers collect refuse and recycling from over 3 million households throughout the five boroughs.  That accounts for more than 12,000 tons a day.  Unfortunately, many times Sanitation Workers are cut by pieces of broken glass protruding from plastic bags.  In fact in FY 2010, there were hundreds of separate incidents in which Sanitation Workers were seriously cut by glass.   

As part of the training for new Sanitation Workers, they are instructed not to place plastic bags against any part of their body because of these types of injuries.  If the bag is too heavy, the Sanitation Workers work as a team to lift the bag into the collection truck hopper.

But there is something the public can do to help, said Sanitation Commissioner John J.  Doherty.  "As a courtesy that New York City residents can help to keep Sanitation Workers safe as they go about their collection duties to minimize injury.  For instance, with regular garbage, it is suggested that residents place glass in a separate bag and mark it 'Broken Glass.'  Recyclable glass which is placed in a clear plastic bag along with metal and plastic is easily visible to the Sanitation Workers."    

Sanitation Workers provide an essential service to millions of New Yorkers. The Department of Sanitation attempts to lessen the dangers of the job with instruction and if needed retraining.  The public can help with just a little more care in the way they place out glass items.